Investigation Progresses Into UK Soldier’s Behaviour in Syria

A group of SAS soldiers have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the death of a suspected jihadist in Syria two years ago. 

Suspicions of War Crimes

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British military police have arrested five Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers on suspicion of committing alleged war crimes while serving in Syria.

MoD Spokesperson

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The Ministry of Defence has not directly discussed the arrest or ongoing investigation, but a statement by an MoD spokesperson made oblique references which have been accepted as confirmation of the arrests.

“Any Allegations of Wrongdoing are Taken Seriously”

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“We hold our personnel to the highest standards and any allegations of wrongdoing are taken seriously,” the spokesperson said. “Where appropriate, any criminal allegations are referred to the service police for investigation.”

Murder of Suspected Jihadi

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It is believed that the case is part of an investigation into the death of a suspected jihadist in Syria two years ago. The death was reported under suspicious circumstances.

Claims of Potential Suicide Attack

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The man died while the five SAS soldiers were on active duty. They reported the death and claimed that the man had attempted a suicide attack, threatening their lives and the lives of those around them.

Bomb Vest at the Scene

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According to SAS sources, there was a bomb vest at the scene, but the man was not found to be wearing it. 

Claims of “Excessive Force”

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Superior officers would later claim that the five soldiers used “excessive force” when apprehending the man. 

Murder Charges Recommended by SPA

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Service police allegedly sent case files concerning the incident to the Service Prosecuting Authority, a Ministry of Defence organization that is the principal prosecuting authority in the Service Justice System. Service police recommended murder charges for the soldiers.

Amnesty Speaks

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Amnesty International has spoken out about the allegations, declaring that all potential war crimes should be thoroughly investigated. 

UK Armed Forces Must Be “Answerable to the Law”

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“As a matter of principle, it’s vital that all members of the UK’s armed forces are fully answerable before the law,” said Amnesty crisis response manager Kristyan Benedict. 

No Identities Disclosed

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So far, none of the identities of the five men have been disclosed, and will likely remain anonymous during potential court-martial proceedings.

Veterans Speak to the Media

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However, several unnamed veterans of the specific forces, as well as a former British intelligence officer, have already gone to the media to defend the arrested troops. 

A “Very Dangerous” Precedent

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“Years ago, people were scared of the SAS but this system of beating ourselves up is undermining Special Forces and it is very dangerous,” one veteran told the Mirror.

“Only Country” With Constant Inquiries

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“These soldiers are extremely well-trained to make these decisions in an instant despite the immense stress,” the former intelligence officer said. “We appear to be the only country that con­­stantly has inquiry upon inquiry piling suspicion on those who serve.”

10 Years in Syria

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The SAS and other UK Special Forces have been operating in Syria for the last ten years, fighting against Islamic State (IS) and working alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

Fighting IS

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The jihadist militant group has been operating in the Middle East since 1999 and has officially been labelled as a terrorist organization by the UK and most Western countries. 

War Crime Prosecutions A Rarity 

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However, many believe that it is unlikely the soldiers will be found guilty. War crime prosecutions are extremely rare in the UK, and these arrests come at a time when the SAS is already in the spotlight for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Accusations in Afghanistan

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Members of the SAS were accused of killing 80 Afghans between 2010 and 2013. Investigations go back as far as 2019, but no SAS members involved have been named or charged. 

Ongoing Public Inquiry

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There is currently an ongoing public inquiry into the incidents, in which Afghan civilians and military personnel accused SAS troops of conducting night raids where they unlawfully killed dozens of male civilians. 

Held to the “Highest Standard”

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Back in 2022, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson maintained that troops in Afghanistan  “served with courage and professionalism,” and were held to the “highest standard.”

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The post Investigation Progresses Into UK Soldier’s Behaviour in Syria first appeared on Edge Media.

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